Your business culture has always deserved serious attention. After all, your culture embodies your brand, and your brand is your most valuable intangible asset. But in today’s tumultuous environment, it’s even more important to make a deliberate effort to create and sustain a business culture that supports your brand’s goals.
Whether culture has always been at the forefront of your business or not, today it needs to be a top priority. As businesses see significant operational efficiencies with maintaining less physical office space, we may never return to the way things were. But virtually everyone is feeling nostalgic for the human connections made during the mundane office routine. That just means more structure and support needs to be provided to maintain a positive business culture in this new normal.
Here are four important guidelines on how to create and foster a positive work culture in today’s business environment.
1. It’s time to formalize the softer side of your business
The office doesn’t make the magic happen – it’s the human connections and valuable exchange of information that happens in the office.
Now it’s time to identify and foster the aspects of your culture that energize your workforce and support your brand. Do your employees thrive in a high-energy, competitive work environment that strives to be first to market with product improvements? Or do you take a personalized approach to get know each other (and your clients) on a personal level and leverage each other’s strengths? Find ways to embody your brand’s characteristics internally and they will shine externally. Friendly competition amongst employees can spur action pursuing new revenue opportunities. Taking time to get to know each other will translate into relationship building with customers. It’s your brand – build it up inside and out.
2. The universal truth in remote working
The panacea of reduced operational cost aside, working from home is not utopian. Leadership needs to acknowledge that the new normal presents a range of challenges. While some employees are overwhelmed with a house full of kids virtual learning and a spouse sharing a home office, others are facing stark isolation. The universal truth: When thinking about your business culture, be thoughtful of the employee experience and be empathetic to all. The first step is acknowledgment that this is not always going to be easy. Thoughtful gestures and open communication go a long way. And a deliberate shift in focus on how you view productivity will help your employees be more happy and productive.
3. Begin with the end in mind
To be successful, clear expectations need to be set about outcomes. As the lines blur between work and home, so traditional office hours should become more flexible. Emphasize productivity rather than hours worked, and be respectful of time and space. For example, perhaps your policy is that every incoming phone call or email from a customer should be answered within 24 hours. However, exactly when and where your employee handles that transaction is flexible. While this requires trust and some loss of control on how your business operates minute-to-minute, it’s ultimately better for everyone (and for your bottom line).
4. Set the tone, then delegate
It’s impossible for one person to implement a business culture. But great leaders can identify the most important aspects and set the tone for how employees can live the brand. After setting clear expectations about performance and policies reflecting the business culture, it’s time to delegate. Identify brand ambassadors who can mentor new employees during the onboarding process. Ensure department leads keep culture in mind when creating and redefining processes and procedures. Continue to call embody and recognize behavior that supports your brand’s culture. And enjoy and engaged workforce who embodies your brand.
Are you ready to provide clarity on how your business culture can support your brand? The experts at id8 are here to help. Leverage our branding experience to define how your culture can be the catalyst to successfully catapulting your brand into the future.